Thursday, August 03, 2006
Trying to fathom the mysteries of the universe is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. ~ St. Augustine
I was asked today what metaphysics means. The answer isn’t an easy one, and may depend on who answers. “Meta” means beyond, so it’s basically those things that lie beyond or outside the physical world. It’s a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the nature of the universe - the study of being, or reality. It attempts to answer such questions as: What is real? Is it natural or supernatural?
You can Google the word and find the mathematical and scientific hypotheses, but I won’t present them here because I don’t understand them. I leave that stuff to people whose IQ’s are much higher than mine. I think science divides metaphysics into two categories: mysticism and the occult. Before anyone freaks out on me, no, I’m not playing around with black magic. The word occult actually means “hidden,” or “esoteric,” which is why I don’t automatically shun people who tell me they are witches, practitioners of Wicca, or pagans, because in most cases, what they mean is that they are attempting to live in harmony with the universe. I suppose some of them delve into the black arts, which is why it’s not for me. I don’t even want to get close to that, or have people who don’t understand it lump me in that category.
Mysticism is the attempt to know God, or The Source of the Universe.
Occultism is the study and practice of things beyond our normal five senses, which is broken down further into knowing and doing.
In the knowing category, we have intuition, clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, retrocognition, mediumship, déjà vu, and a priori knowledge. We don’t know how we know these things, but we know them.
In the doing category, we have psychokinesis, telekinesis, astral projection, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, ghost hunting, and the divining arts, such as astrology, numerology, palmistry, Tarot, and a host of others.
I believe in God for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that I can see order in the chaos of our lives. I see patterns which repeat themselves – shapes, numbers, cycles – and I can see how it all works together, how everything is dependent on another thing, how it’s all interrelated. To me, it only makes sense that if I am holding a book in my hand, that ultimately, there had to be a bookmaker. I cannot lie under the stars at night contemplating the vast infinity of the universe, compare it to the infinitesimal reproductive system of the damn gnat hovering around my head, and believe it’s all an accident. I didn’t come by my belief in God through church or organized religion. Two things slammed it home for me: being visited by the dead, and the study of astrology.
Those two things were enough to send me off on my own quest for the answers. I firmly believe, although I often find it difficult to accept when bad things happen to me, that there is a reason for everything. The Law of Karma makes it so. I have studied most of the major religions of the world: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam, and a few of the primal religions. I have read their literature: The Holy Bible, the Kabbalah, the Bhagavad-Gita, and so on. I’ve read the obscure texts, too; the Gnostic Gospels, dead sea scrolls, Christian apocrypha, the Jewish pseudepigrapha, the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead, and everything else I could get my hands on. The most interesting thing I’ve found is that there is one thing every single one of them agrees upon – the Law of Karma. They call it different things; the golden rule, an eye for an eye, do unto others, but they all mean the same thing. Even scientists who are skeptical of the existence of a Divine Being must admit it, because it’s Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What we do, say, and think comes back to us eventually. If you get right down to it, I think God wants one thing from us: to love each other and to help and be kind to one another. If we all did that, there would be no war, poverty, or illness in the world. Unfortunately, I think it will take massive destruction of not only the earth, but obliteration of Mars, Saturn, and Uranus before that will ever happen.
My search of the metaphysical did not end there. I have read most of the Greek philosophers, as well as enough of Aquinas, Bacon, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Kant, Comte, Spinoza, Voltaire, Rousseau, Emerson, Thoreau, Kirkegaarde, Neitzshe, Rand, Foucault, Sartre, and Eliade, to get a decent overview of their beliefs. I’ve studied mythology, and astronomy. I have read about the Samadhi, reincarnation, the Secret Doctrine, the Rosicrucians, and teachings of the mystics. In order to know what I believed, I needed something with which to compare it.
As for the occult side of metaphysics, I’ve tried them all, with lesser and greater degrees of success. For me, astrology works best, but that’s just me. Your path may be different. Yep, I know I'm strange. But you like me anyway, right?
There are intangible realities which float near us, formless and without words, realities which no one has thought out, and which are excluded for lack of interpreters. ~ Natalie Clifford Barney